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Is it an end of COVID-19 pandemic? Here's what UN chief Guterres says

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United Nations, Apr 8: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over as large outbreaks are spreading in Asia.

Is it an end of COVID-19 pandemic? Heres what UN chief Guterres says

He urged the governments and pharma companies to work together in unison in order to provide vaccination for all. "One World Protected - Break COVID Now" to the GAVI COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit 2022, Guterres said in a video message.

"We're seeing 1.5 million new cases each day. Large outbreaks are spreading in Asia. A new wave is sweeping across Europe," he said, adding that some countries are reporting their highest death rates since the start of the pandemic.

Citing Omicron strain of COVID-19, Guterres pointed out how quickly a variant can mutate and spread in the absence of high vaccination coverage. While some high-income countries are preparing for their second booster doses, one-third of humanity remains unvaccinated, he stated.

"This is a brutal indictment of our deeply unequal world. It's also a prime breeding ground for new variants... more deaths... and increased human and economic misery," he said. Guterres said the next variant is not a question of "if" but of "when."

"We are far from our target of every country reaching 70 per cent vaccination coverage by the middle of this year. And with new variants emerging every four months on average, time is of the essence," he said. He added that governments and pharmaceutical companies need to work together to deliver vaccines to every person, everywhere - not just in wealthy countries.

Guterres claimed that the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is not the issue as manufacturers are producing 1.5 billion doses per month and said progress in achieving vaccine equity is possible but the window is closing fast. "This means countries fulfilling and accelerating dose-sharing and donation commitments to COVAX with better quality of supply. And it means having strong national vaccine-delivery systems at the ready - including efforts to counter disinformation and get vaccines into arms."

He urged countries to commit new funding for the ACT-Accelerator and COVAX this year. The COVAX Facility is the global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines through which COVAX seeks to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by WHO. PTI

According to COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update issued this week, said that the number of new COVID-19 cases has decreased for a second consecutive week, with a 16 per cent decline during the week of March 28 through April 3 as compared to the previous week.

In India, 1,109 new cases were recorded on Friday with an active caseload of 11,492. A total of 1,213 people recovered from the illness.

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